On Writing

why i’m enjoying editing my second draft

I’m one quarter of the way through the first round of edits on Project If … WHICH HAS A PROPER NAME NOW (I know. I feel as though I’ve named a child. MY CHILD!) and I’d just like to announce exactly why I’m enjoying this fantasy/truly-terrible-political-thriller/mystery-with-a-touch-of-comedy …

I’VE MADE THE MAIN CHARACTER SUFFER

What do you get when you try and combine John Wayne and Jackie Chan-esque characters? Nothing. That’s what. You give him a name and suddenly he decides that a) you make terrible decisions and b) he’ll be completely his own person thankyouverymuch

He doesn’t have many words, he hates paperwork, and his eye twitches when things get on his nerves. Also, he is thrust into many, many awkward and dangerous situations and my gosh there’s one in this health spa (there’s a health spa named after the Very Dramatic Heroine of a Very Dramatic Never Written Story That I Once Outlined. Because: obviously) and I DIDN’T MEAN FOR THE CLAY MASK AND THE MISSING TOWEL SITUATION BUT IT TOTALLY HAPPENED. And I cackled while I wrote it. And I have zero regrets.

Marius is …

  • a teddy bear, if the teddy bear has been up to his neck in bureaucracy and forms and completely done with it all.
  • a far distant cousin of Aquila, from The Lantern Bearers
  • a relative of the Phantom. (If having scars qualifies you as relative of the Phantom of the Opera. In that case, I’m related tO HIM TOO! Who knew that pruning my finger instead of the garden hedge would pay off so well?!!)
  • like Batman, in that he’s a man and he’s fictional.

THE SIDE-CHARACTERS ENTERTAIN ME

Hilda’s name might change but I adore her. She may have a huge Marius-sized crush, but she also has a goal and by golly, she’s going to reach it even if it kills her. (And it just might kill her.) Born because yes, there might be love interests BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? LOVE INTERESTS HAVE THEIR OWN DANG INTERESTS TOO.

And then there is V. B. who I couldn’t resist but inject a leetle bit of a Heyer Hero into. (I. CAN’T. HELP. IT.) and K who is suffering from a terminal case of Bad Writing (NO fault of my own) but I will rescue you, I swear it. YOU WILL BE LIKE A GLORIOUS VIKING GARDENER.

THE WORLD

Dragons are the blue whales of the sky.

the author

My imagination is having a BLAST.

THE PLOT

I’m pretending that all the twists were meant to happen from the very beginning. It’s pretty fun to pretend, if just for a little while, that I am Clever and Totally Meant This To Turn Out The Way It Did.

IT’S LIKE A SECOND CHANCE

The first draft is always horribly rough – and I love the fact that with a second draft I can go back and I can just do better. I’m not aspiring to greatness; I just wish for characters that make me feel and a world that draws me in and action that isn’t boring and perhaps something that I take with me once I’ve read the book. So not much. *cough*

If you’re a potter, I have an ENTIRE analogy for you: You know when you’ve centred the ball of clay and you’ve plunged your thumbs in? You’ve got to just bring the walls of the pot up and up to transform it from the dumpy little ball into something nice and refined and breathtaking? That’s what all the drafts after the first one are like. Right now I’m just thinning the walls.

So watch this space. I have a deadline. I have several deadlines. I am terrible at deadlines but oh, I’m going to try.